A recent article in Christianity Today admits, “Though he shared basic Christian beliefs with evangelicals, he didn’t subscribe to biblical inerrancy or penal substitution. He believed in purgatory and baptismal regeneration.” His attraction to evangelicals may have been because of his evangelical-like conversion – “He had an evangelical experience, this personal encounter with the God of the universe.” His works actually fell out of fashion in the 1960s only to come roaring back more recently. In fact, sales of his books have increased 125% since 2001 and, since his Narnia series is being made into movies, his star will continue to rise for some time to come.
So how should we view Mr. Lewis? His ability to cut through the intellectual clouds and offer insightful analysis of human nature and our relationship with God perhaps has no equal. Most of us have gained much because of the writings of C. S. Lewis. On the other hand, he was no evangelical. His theology is deficient at best in the key areas of Scripture and salvation. He believed in neither sola fide nor sola scriptura, the two battle cries of the Reformation. Those who read him must keep these things in mind, filter his teaching through the grid of Scripture and hold him to the same standards that we are to hold all others. Because Lewis was a man with an incredible ability to package his insights in thought-provoking ways does not mean that what he writes always aligns with God’s Word. He was a man who had keen analytical abilities and incredible writing gifts. But he was a man who rejected or minimized many of the most important truths given to us by God.